Caretaker Kangaroos coach is giving Clarkson space
Caretaker North Melbourne coach Brett Ratten is resisting the temptation to reach out to Alastair Clarkson during his time away from the AFL club.
Clarkson has stepped away from coaching the Kangaroos, citing mental wellbeing issues stemming from the investigation into claims of racism during his stint at Hawthorn.
Ratten received text messages from Clarkson before and after the Roos' three-point loss to Sydney last Saturday.
But beyond replying via text, the stand-in coach is giving Clarkson space.
"Personally, it's an interesting one. I want to reach out to him," Ratten told reporters on Thursday.
"But I want him just to forget about footy.
"And I just want him to take a breath, go for walks, do things where he's not consumed by the game and clear his mind and his wellbeing.
"I have been there thinking, 'Do you want me to do anything?' ... but I have just been very reluctant to do anything because we want to let him have his own space."
Ratten hoped his approach would help Clarkson overcome his issues and soon return to coach the Kangaroos.
"This is what it's about. If we keep putting him in emails and all these things ... every week or every day, he's back in the same spot," Ratten said.
"So let him have his freedom. Let him have his space.
"Let him get his wellbeing back and get back here.
"I'm just keeping this seat warm."
Clarkson last week announced he was stepping aside as North's coach amid an independent investigation into allegations of racism during his tenure as a four-time premiership coach at Hawthorn.
Clarkson, who coached the Hawks from 2005-2021, current Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and the club's former welfare manager Jason Burt have been named in the claims.
All deny any wrongdoing.
The AFL last December established an independent panel to investigate the allegations but Clarkson, Fagan and Burt have yet to be interviewed and there is no time-frame to complete the probe.